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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nokia, Apple, AT&T, Verizon Communications and Microsoft

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nokia, Apple, AT&T, Verizon Communications
                                and Microsoft

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 19, 2012

CHICAGO, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK),
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications Inc.
(NYSE:VZ) and Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Nokia Adds Big Carrier Partners

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has finally managed to get some big carrier
partners to revive its smartphone business. These carriers are believed to be
betting on Nokia, in order to reduce their dependence on Apple Inc.'s
(Nasdaq:AAPL) iPhone and other Android-based phones.

Recently, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) – the second largest carrier in the U.S. started
selling Nokia's latest Lumia offering, while the biggest U.S. carrier Verizon
Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has started taking pre orders for its customized
Lumia 822 from November 13. Moreover, T-Mobile USA, one of the top 4 U.S.
carriers, is also likely to offer Lumia 810, before the holiday season ends.

Nokia provides the carriers the opportunity to have their own customized
Lumia, thereby differentiating their products from the competitors. This is a
unique benefit, which will enable Nokia to win more carrier partners
particularly in the lucrative U.S. market, where it has lagged over years.
However, the lack of applications as compared to Apple and Android has been
the major cause of concern for Nokia.

Tying up with these big carriers couldn't have come at a better time for the
Finnish telecom giant as Nokia will leverage from the marketing prowess of
Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT), which will target its huge user base to
popularize its recently launched Windows/Windows Phone 8 Operating System.

Nokia is expected to benefit from the marketing push of the big operators,
which are looking to add on a third ecosystem to increase the competition in
the smartphone market. Higher smartphone subsidies to tap customers are eating
up on the margins of these carriers. Thus, a third OS will not only reduce the
carriers' dependence on Android or iOS but will also provide customers with
wider choice given Lumia's variety.

Nokia reported dismal results for the third quarter of 2012, with the company
shipping only 6.3 million smart devices, which include only 2.9 million Lumia
series phones. We believe this big carrier partnership could act as a boon for
Nokia to stamp Lumia's mark as one of the biggest smartphone brands in the
world. However, Nokia will require more such partnerships to create a niche
for itself as Windows phone has little customer acceptance till date.

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Nokia. Currently, the
company retains a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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